Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Bring your own toppings

5 year old (ops, my mistake, 6 years old in a few weeks)
and 2 year old enjoying vegetable rich pizza
Homemade pizza can be a delicious and healthy treat for kids.

We had a top your own pizza party for lunch the other day.  It went really well and I can't wait to do it again.

I had the grups (grown-ups) bring their own toppings and cheese,  I provided the crust and the sauce.

I'm very impressed by how many more vegetables parents feed their kids these days, compared from when I was younger.  Broccoli, spinach, mushroom, and ham were the toppings chosen by H (the oldest who topped her own pizza).  She even shared a bite with her little sister.

First time the little ones are eating pizza so it took a bit of getting use to.  But once they figured it out, boy did it go down fast.

For this I used my regular sourdough bread dough, raised once and put in the fridge for at least 24 hours.  Then, the day of the party, get the dough out a few hours before hand to wake up.  Set someone to grate the cheese, another person to set up the topping station, and a third person to fry the bacon while you break off egg sized balls of dough and roll them out into roughly pizza shaped flat pieces.

By now the topping station should be finished and that person can be in charge of putting the crust on the pan, and saucing it up.  The cheese person is done now, so she or he can guide the kids as they top their own pizza.

individually topped pizzas, ready to pop in the oven
Bottom shelf of the oven at 425F, for roughly 14 min and presto pizza!  Don't put more than one layer of pizzas in the oven at a time, it makes the crusts go soggy and not cook right.

mmmm, yummy.
Very allergy friendly: this is great because you can make the crust from scratch and each person can bring toppings they like.  That way you don't have to fret about accommodating specific food needs.  You can even make yeast free or gluten free crusts if need be.  

Healthy? Oh yes!  Did you see all those vegetables.  I've noticed that if the grown up isn't scared of eating a little veg, neither is the kid.  It's a fairly balanced meal, so long as you don't over do the cheese and meat.  Make the crust thinner for diabetics and people trying to loose weight.  

Affordable cooking:  This is a great twist on the pot luck where everyone shares the labour and the price of ingredients   It probably costs a total of $1 to $4 per personal pizza, which to be honest, is more than I like to spend per person usually, but it's well worth it when you see how much the kids are enjoying the process of making their own pizza.

This can be made Vegan Friendly, but it takes a bit of effort.  If you are like me and like to cook for your vegan friends, then I recommend running the recipe for the crust by your vegan friend first.  There are vegan cheese out there, but chances are your friend has a particular brand they like and knows which ones melt well and which ones turn to glue when heated.  Get him or her to bring their own toppings and treat it like you would a strong allergy (their toppings go separate and don't get mixed with the non-vegan food).  If they are strict vegans, then keeping their pizza on a separate tray to the meat pizzas, is a must.  Cook theirs first so that they don't accidentally get any meat or cheese on the pizza from the cutting knife.  Just little things like this make a huge difference and help your friend feel comfortable.  

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